Transwomen in women's sports
Since the trans activist notion of "trans women are women" is meant literally, it follows that transwomen would be allowed to partake in women's sports. When a sports organization adheres to this notion, it poses a problem to women's sports, since the various physiological differences between the sexes allow peak-performing male athletes to significantly outperform peak-performing female athletes in most disciplines. The extent to which hormone replacement therapy (HRT) decreases the advantages of being male is yet unstudied, however it is clear that many of the changes the male body undergoes during puberty are not reversed by HRT, such as overall body size, skeletal structure, or the size of the lungs and heart.
Significant physiological differences between the human sexes that might affect athletic performance include but are not limited to:
- Males weigh about 15% more on average
- Males are about 15 cm (6 in) taller on average
- Males have denser and therefore more durable bones on average
- Males have stronger tendons and ligaments on average
- Males on average have greater total muscle mass
- Males on average have a greater ratio of muscle mass to total body mass
- Males have about 56% greater lung volume relative to body mass
- Males have larger airways and larger expiratory airflow, even when matched to women for height and lung volume
- Males have larger hearts, with 10% higher red blood cell count and higher haemoglobin, meaning greater oxygen carrying capacity, although the difference is less pronounced among athletes
- Males have higher circulating "clotting factors" which allow for faster healing of wounds and higher peripheral pain tolerance
The differences in strength can be very significant. For instance, gross measures of body strength suggest that women are approximately only 50% to 60% as strong as men in the upper body, and 60% to 70% as strong in the lower body. A study of hand-grip strength found that even elite female athletes can be surpassed by a man with no athletic training. Another study of sports performance in various disciplines found that males tend to perform 5.5% to 36.8% better, depending on the discipline.
Effect of hormone therapy
The differences between females and males listed above refer to average individuals, with no regard to the effect hormone replacement therapy might have. A male who underwent feminizing hormone therapy might however lose some of his biological advantages over women. Studies indicate that this effect is very small, and that transwomen mostly retain their biological advantages over women.
A study by Emma Hilton and Tommy Lundberg, published in Sports Medicine in 2020, found:
Longitudinal studies examining the effects of testosterone suppression on muscle mass and strength in transgender women consistently show very modest changes, where the loss of lean body mass, muscle area and strength typically amounts to approximately 5% after 12 months of treatment. Thus, the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed.
Another study by Harper et al. published 2021 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concludes:
In transwomen, hormone therapy rapidly reduces Hgb to levels seen in cisgender women. In contrast, hormone therapy decreases strength, LBM and muscle area, yet values remain above that observed in cisgender women, even after 36 months. These findings suggest that strength may be well preserved in transwomen during the first 3 years of hormone therapy.
Notable transwomen in women's sports
In September 2014, male mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Fallon Fox severely injured a female opponent, Tamikka Brents, causing her to suffer a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head, in the first round of a fight. Brents took to social media to convey her thoughts on the experience of fighting Fox: "I've fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can't answer whether it's because she [sic] was born a man or not because I'm not a doctor. I can only say, I've never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right," she stated. "Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn't move at all in Fox's clinch..." According to Wikipedia, Fox has won 5 out of 6 MMA fights in total as of May 2019, three of which were by knockout.
In June 2020, during debates spurred after J.K. Rowling's criticism of the transgender movement, Fallon Fox tweeted about the event: "I knocked two out. One woman’s skull was fractured, the other not. And just so you know, I enjoyed it. See, I love smacking up TEFS [sic] in the cage who talk transphobic nonsense. It’s bliss! Don’t be mad. 😉"
Male transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon won the women’s 35-44 sprint during the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles, in October 2018. Third place finisher Jennifer Wagner commented that this was unfair, and later commented on Twitter that she would work on getting the rules changed, which Rachel McKinnon characterized as transphobic.
Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood
Two male transgender high school athletes, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, won first and second place in the Connecticut state championship 100-meter dash in 2018. Miller also won first place in the 200-meter dash.
Also see: Wikipedia:Laurel Hubbard
Male weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand has been taking many women's gold and silver medals. In the 2017 Australian International & Australian Open in Melbourne, he took the gold medal of the women's heaviest 90 kg+ category at a bodyweight of 131.83 kg. He thus became the first person to win an international women's weightlifting title for New Zealand.
Hubbard met the official eligibility requirements to compete against women, but many female competitors pointed out the unfairness of the situation. These include Iuniarra Sipaia, Toafitu Perive, Deborah Acason, and Tracey Lambrechs. Australian Weightlifting Federation's chief executive, Michael Keelan, said it was unfair to other competitors.
Hubbard took another two women's gold medals at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
Canadian professional downhill mountain-bike competitor Michelle Dumaresq, who is a post-operative male-born transsexual, won the 2002 Canada Cup series, which qualified Dumaresq for the Canadian National team. In September 2002, Dumaresq co-represented Canada at the World Mountain Bike Championships. However, due to technical issues with the bike, Dumaresq only managed a 24th-place finish in the event. In 2003, Dumaresq won the 2003 Canadian National Championships and again represented Canada in the 2003 World Championships. Dumaresq repeated a Nationals win in 2004 and finished 17th at the 2004 World Mountain Bike Championships held in Les Gets, France.
At the 2006 Canadian Nationals, a protest from one of the competitors during the podium ceremonies brought attention to Dumaresq's participation in female sports. The boyfriend of second-place finisher Danika Schroeter jumped up onto the podium and helped Schroeter put on a T-shirt reading '100% Pure Woman Champ'. The Canadian Cycling Association suspended Schroeter for her actions. However, the CCA announced that Schroeter's time off the race course would be served during the off-season when it would have no impact on her.
On 27 May 2018, male transgender handball player Hannah Mouncey scored three goals for Melbourne Handball Club in their win over University of Queensland Handball Club for the 2018 Oceanian Open Club Championship.
At 52, Gabrielle Ludwig, a Navy veteran, enrolled in Santa Clara Community College's women basketball team. Towering at 6’8”, and more than 30 years older than the female players, this post-operative transwoman was predicted by the team's coach to become "the most dangerous player in the state”, a prediction which proved to be accurate.
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